Sports Flames' Milan Lucic considered retiring after November benching: 'It...

Flames’ Milan Lucic considered retiring after November benching: ‘It just wasn’t fun for me any longer’


Concerns have actually swirled around Milan Lucic for months– perhaps even years– about whether he can still complete at a high level in the NHL. It definitely didn’t assist that the last 10 months approximately have actually been a rollercoaster affair for the 13- year league veteran.

In July, the rugged winger was traded from the Edmonton Oilers about 3 hours south, to the Calgary Flames, in a 1-for -1 swap for James Neal. While Neal started the season red-hot with 9 objectives in his first 8 games, it took Lucic a bit longer to get settled in with his brand-new environments.

Over the course of 58 games, he has actually tallied 6 objectives and 17 points– which, while they would be career-lows if the season ended today, is the very same variety of objectives he posted in 79 games in 2015 in Edmonton. The 2011 Stanley Cup champ wasn’t always brought in to bury the puck. His leading characteristic is the physical existence he brings as a power forward– he leads the team with 161 strikes– together with developing space for the playmakers on his line.

Nevertheless, his absence of discipline: Back in November, Lucic was suspended 2 games for roughing when he punched heaven Jackets’ Kole Sherwood. More just recently, his absence of involvement in the fisticuffs part of the ‘Fight of Alberta,’ paired in with the team’s total battles, put a huge bullseye on Lucic.

MORE: Flames aim to add scoring, defense at the NHL trade due date

In Spite Of all that, the truth that he divulged he considered retiring throughout the season– at just 31– on Sportsnet’s ‘After Hours’ with Scott Oake and Louie DeBrusk was stunning.

“There was times where, the start for me things weren’t going so well,” he stated following the Flames’ 8-4 knocking by the checking out Chicago Blackhawks, when asked if he felt pressure to show it was a great trade for the Flames. “I believe after about 6, 7 weeks into the season I keep in mind playing, the first time we played St. Louis here on a ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ game, I got benched in the 3rd duration and absolutely nothing was stated to me by anybody and I wasn’t truly delighted about it and I even began questioning whether I ought to hang them up due to the fact that it just wasn’t fun for me any longer.

” It had absolutely nothing to do with James Neal having success, I just believe for myself it was just truly hard and particularly when you’re getting benched and nobody is stating anything to you.”

The game Lucic is referencing was a 3-2 overtime loss to the Blues on Nov. 9 where he just skated for 9 minutes and 23 seconds and played just 2 shifts in the 3rd. Going into that game, Lucic balanced more than 12 minutes a game, however had actually just tallied 3 helps; the match versus the Blues was his second game back from the suspension. 2 games prior to that St. Louis game, versus Columbus, he played a season-low 8 minutes and 36 seconds, which was the 3rd time he played less than 10 minutes in the first 16 games of the season.

It ought to be kept in mind that Costs Peters, who never ever appeared to discover the ideal fit for Lucic, was the head coach at the time of the benching. In extension of his response on ‘After Hours,’ Lucic discussed how interim head coach Geoff Ward and his colleagues brought him back from the edge of retirement.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Geoff Ward, the other three coaches and all my teammates for kinda sticking with me and keeping me motivated. Especially (Mark Giordano) and (Sean) Monahan, two guys that I’ve really been close with since I got here. They’ve kept me going and they’ve managed to pump me up and I talked about (Dillon Dube) and what it’s meant to play with him and the life he’s given me.”

“So, yeah I’m having fun again, especially playing for Wardo, I had so much success with him in Boston for seven years and you know what, he’s meant a lot to me this year. Same with (general manager Brad Treliving). He’s kept me going and kept me motivated and that’s why I’m doing everything to make this trade work. Not only for the team but for the city and the fans as well.”

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